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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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my golden retriever has a large cyst on the right side just

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my golden retriever has a large cyst on the right side just under her ribs. she has had a byopsy, and apparently its scar tissue from a previous injury? i was told to apply heat, like a magic bag, twice a day for couple of weeks and it would go away. it did infact shrink a lot in size, but it has become quite large and is effecting her breathing. she does not complain and it does not seeem to bother her. i don't have another thousand dollars for a second opion, but im really worried. i was told that an operation could be fatal because of the area, and negative chest pressure? im not sure what to do for her at this point, i could really use some tips, thank you
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.

This is a tricky one as cysts are usually pretty unremarkable and will go away on their own without treatment. Given the location and other signs, something should be done. I know finances are an issue, so surgery may not be your # XXXXX option at this point but may have to be done eventually. A cyst, by definition is a fluid filled structure. With this in mind, I would first try draining it and see what kind of clinical response you get in regards XXXXX XXXXX breathing. If it helps, then great and it'll just be watching it to see if it comes back. If it cannot be drained (too thick of fluid or no fluid), then you're left with surgery to remove it. Thoracic surgery is done fairly often without significant complications- you're right that there is a pressure issue but this just means that the anesthetist will have to breath for her while she's under and the chest is open. It's not unheard of and can be done fairly easily. You could also see a surgeon and have it done by them but you're looking at close to 2000 for a boarded surgeon to do that procedure.

Outside of draining, surgical removal and hot packing there are not really any other options. Hopefully the drainage can be done as that would be the least invasive and potentially very rewarding.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thank you for your response, it was helpful, although i have one more question. i was told that the cyst is scar tissue, so i don't believe it can be drained. it is really hard and easily the size of a softball. is there an average rate that vets charge for the surgery? and if is not removed, will it impair the quality of life for her? will it decrease her life span? and just ot clarify, surgery is probably the only option, if its not drainable?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 8 years ago.
If it's not able to be drained, then yes surgery is your only other option. I would guess that the surgery would be ~ 500-800 from a general practice vet or close to 2000 from a surgeon. Softball size is not that big, and I wouldn't expect it to impair breathing. I wonder if it's painful and that is causing the panting or increased respiratory rate. I would try some pain meds like Rimadyl first and see if that helps her signs before going to surgery.

I don't think it'll impair her quality of life even if it can't come out. It may be a little uncomfortable but that can be treated.